French president Emmanuel Macron backs return of F1 GP

Circuit Paul Ricard dropped from Formula One calendar at end of 2022 season.
  • French GP dropped from F1 calendar in 2022
  • Nice looks most likely to be put forward as host
  • Return to Paul Ricard, Le Castellet unlikely

French president Emmanuel Macron has backed the return of Formula One to France, as revealed by Christian Estrosi, mayor of Nice.

In a letter to the mayor, as reported by daily French newspaper Nice-Matin, president Macron wrote: ‘Be certain that I fully share your ambition. Indeed, as you point out, our country must be able, like the other major international sporting events it organises each year, to reconnect with Formula One, for the enjoyment of all: our country, the influence of our automotive industry and innovation to support the decarbonisation of this sector.’

Before the race at Circuit Paul Ricard was officially dropped for 2023, rumours of a relocation were rife. Formula One chief executive Stefano Domenicali went as far as to mention “an amazing project with Nice” that was being evaluated.

This project now has the backing of Macron, with any future Formula One return to France now seemingly guaranteed to be away from the former host circuit in Le Castellet.

Notably, Estrosi denied rumours of a race in Nice following the comments made by Domenicali last year, but Macron’s support offers a very different set of circumstances.

Macron confirmed in the letter: ‘I wish to respond favorably to your proposal to entrust you with a mission [to explore Formula One’s return], jointly with Mr Nicolas Deschaux, president of the French Motorsport Federation.’

There were suggestions that the prospect of visiting Nice was being used as a bargaining chip with the organisers of the nearby Monaco Grand Prix, although the historic venue’s short-term future is secure following the signing of a three-year contract extension until 2025.

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